“There is not enough time.” Have you heard this before? Have you said it before? What are the tips to effective time management? In my view, you can never manage time effectively. So what can you do about time?
When we look from a macro point of view, there is abundance of time. Since we have abundance of it, how come we are always face with not enough time?
The only reason we don’t have enough time is because we waste it by losing control of ourselves. Instead of taking charge of our life by doing what is supportive, we allow our unsupportive habit to take control of us. Laze in front of the TV. Surfing Facebook even though you’ve read all 5,000 post from friends. Smoke cum tea break takes 45 minutes. Gossiping when you are suppose to be on tasks. All these are signs of losing control.
We didn’t want to admit that we lose control, so we used “not enough time” as a justification. The truth is there is not enough ME. Instead of effective time management, we should look at effective ME management. No one can control or manage time. The only thing we can control and manage is ourselves.
How do we manage ourselves so that in return we get to use time wisely?
Increase your efficiency. From the dictionary, efficiency means achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort. In other words, doing more with less by managing yourself.
How do you be more efficient?
Firstly, be efficient by being clear. Being clear of your goals, directions, tasks and deadlines. Knowing where you are heading can save you hours. Imagine you are driving without a direction or destination. You will be driving aimlessly around the neighborhood. Aren’t you burning fuel wastefully? Apply this analogy into managing YOU. Aren’t you also burning away time when you are unsure of your direction?
I write down goals, intended results and milestones. Doing this set my destination. Then I work on how to get there. When you have a destination, you plan on what vehicle to get you there, which route to take. I work on a plan to get me to my destination. I mentioned more about creating your plan in Dreams To Reality E-Manual.
This leads us to the second point on being efficient. Planning. Plan with details. List down every task that lead you to your destination. Go into detail such as:
- Get into the vehicle.
- Turn the key to start.
- Release handbrake.
- Step accelerator.
This again support you in saving time. You don’t have to figure out the next task. You know your next tasks and will be able to jump into it right away.
Thirdly, personal efficiency can be improve by focusing. Putting all your energy onto one project at a time. Remove all big or small distractions. You can take on more than one project, but allocation of time commitment is critical. Know your limits, avoid taking too much on your plate.
Sometimes distraction comes in the form of opportunities. When you feel that you have too much on your plate, turn them away.
I have three long term projects. Growing this blog which is related to the coaching business. Growing Public Presentation Mastery. Creating new videos and books. Sometimes I can take on short term corporate training projects. That’s about the maximum I can take. I’ve turned away few distractions that were disguised as opportunities.
I allocate a certain number of hours to work on each project. Taking on more projects will just dilute my effort in each project.
Focus by knowing your limits. Focus by proper allocation of your time. You’ll have a chance to look at how I plan and allocate time in Dreams to Reality E-Manual.
Lastly, manage yourself with discipline. Be honest. Have you ever lost focus on your project? Have you ever stopped following your plan? Have you ever forgotten your direction and goals? I answer YES to all three questions.
Because I allow myself to lose control. I allow myself to lose focus, not following the plan and forget about my goals. This happened when I was caught up with daily fire fighting tasks, and didn’t slow down to review and reflect.
Create a structure so that you can remain focus for the amount of time you allocate for project. One of the structures I have is to have a working buddy. We check in on each other’s progress daily. Accountable to each other’s success.
Some other structures you can consider.
- Have a discipline room that is disconnected from all other distractions so that you can focus.
- Have rewards for completing tasks.
- Check in hourly or daily on progress.
- Spread your task, do baby steps.
- Create a competition.
These are some ways from my experience to manage myself. You can apply them, see how it goes for you. I trust that it will work for you.
And of course, what other ways can you generate to manage yourself? Please leave your ideas in the comment box.